Celebrations are continuing for Arjun Rampal and congratulatory calls are pouring in as well. It has been a week since the release of Raajneeti but the quantum of all the appreciation has only seen an escalation with every passing day. With the weekdays holding on quite well after a phenomenal first weekend, Raajneeti is now sitting pretty amongst the biggest box office openers of all times – 3 Idiots and Ghajini. While both films were designed as commercial entertainers, Raajneeti was perceived as a dry drama due to it’s background of politics. However, it has pushed many an entertainer aside and emerged as a supreme winner, something which is expected to march on for many more weeks to come. Arjun Rampal shares his moment of joy with Joginder Tuteja.
The kind of start and sustained audience that Raajneeti has been enjoying for more than a week seems pretty unbelievable, especially with the kind of genre it presents. What does it say for the Indian film industry?
I think it really reflects for everybody that you make a good film and people would certainly want to watch it despite the genre or the background. For all of us, that should be the key. We continue to talk about the kind of audience which wants to see a particular film. However, we should step back, pause and rethink on what actually makes for a film which is good enough that would connect with the audience.
And what really do you feel is the pre-requisite for such films?
Honesty. When you bring in honesty in your filmmaking, audience will see that from a distance. This is the reason why I am so sure that the film will sustain for many more weeks even after such a blockbuster opening.
I am sure that the film will sustain for many more weeks even after such a blockbuster opening.
Well, you must indeed be ecstatic. You had one filmmaker (Sajid Khan) promising you a huge money spinner (Housefull) and another (Prakash Jha) delivering a blockbuster (Raajneeti) without stating much.
(Smiles) Housefull is something that I am very proud of. It did extremely well and connected with the audience. It is now time for Raajneeti. I couldn’t have been happier because even as Raajneeti is doing so well, Housefull too is running in theatres.
I couldn’t have been happier because even as Raajneeti is doing so well, Housefull too is running in theatres.
Rock On, The Last Lear, Housefull and now Raajneeti – suddenly Arjun has become very critic friendly. Really, you are now consistently seeing good reviews coming your way from all quarters. Isn’t it actually turning out to be a trend of sorts?
Well, this is the trend that I won’t like to break (laughs). I have grown over a period of time and as an actor, that should be a basic trait. When I started off, it was a time when cinema was changing. Films were being made that belonged to different kinds. Over a period of time, it turned out to be a learning experience for me as an actor. Once I gained this experience, I had to do something entirely new, which I did in last few years.
I had to unlearn a lot of things.
I have grown over a period of time and as an actor, that should be a basic trait.
And what is it that you learnt?
That your journey will always continue, courtesy the changes that will keep coming in. You can’t help it though what you should know at the bare minimum is ‘how to act’. Also, once your film succeeds, you get an added encouragement to further learn. I am grateful that during last few years, I have seen continued success. That only makes my thought process clearer around what I want to do and what’s the kind of work I should say yes to.
Well, one can guess so. After all not many have dared to enter a venture that had seasoned actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Nana Patekar and Ajay Devgn. Wasn’t it unnerving for you to begin with?
(Says immediately) It was not unnerving at all. It was due to the presence of these actors that Ranbir, Katrina and myself got noticed. You get a lot of learning when you have performers like these alongside you. You read scenes and rehearse a lot which keeps you on your toes. You know there and then that you are not there to compete but to work together so as to make a film work. No wonder, it is so flattering when you perform for a scene and get a lot of praise from these people.
One can see that. After all it is you, Ranbir and Manoj who are getting appreciated the most.
See, it is all about the movie working in entirety. For me, the hero of Raajneeti is the film itself and Prakash Jha. We all went with his instincts and did what he wanted us to do. Full credit to the entire team that my performance is being loved and liked. I had to perform. After all there were so many national awards out there and I too had to justify my National award (laughs).